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Director's Welcome

If human culture involves the making of a meaningful world through processes both broadly collective and highly individualized, the humanities strive to understand our world through close attention to its collective and individual components.  The humanities both study and cultivate human creativity, identity, and responsibility. As such they are central to the life of the university as they are to the world at large.

The humanities include the older and ever vital disciplines such as history, philosophy, language and literary studies, philosophy, and religious studies; newer disciplines such as art history, musicology, as well as the interpretive dimensions of social sciences such as anthropology and political science; more recent, interdisciplinary initiatives such as media studies and gender and sexuality studies.

Brown University has long offered unique focus and quality in the humanities, combining the preservation of knowledge with a spirit of innovation and adventure. Brown has played a unique role in the pioneering of new and interdisciplinary work while at the same time developing and advancing the frontiers of knowledge within the humanistic disciplines.

The Cogut Center for the Humanities is poised to build on these strengths at a moment of unique institutional distinction and growth and at a moment as well of particular national and global urgency. As a key player in Brown’s initiative of academic enrichment, the Cogut Center will provide multiple programs to bring Brown faculty and students into regular and innovative contact with each other, with national and international scholars and scholarship, and with the coming generations of scholars whose training for academic life and for the world at large is the key task of the university. Through these programs, the Center will:

Enhance the productivity of Brown faculty members and graduate students by offering semester-long fellowships combining venues for research and regular scholarly exchange.

Bring to the Brown community the most innovative and important new scholarship, through various programs of short and longer-term fellowships for distinguished visiting scholars.

Develop and host rich and varied conference and lecture programs.

Form partnerships with existing interdisciplinary initiatives at Brown such as the Pembroke Center, the Watson Institute, and the Creative Arts Council.

Establish regular contact and scholarly exchange with regional, national, and international programs in the humanities.